September 17, 1991. That date's pretty much burned into my brain.
All I had been listening to, for the past six months or so, was basically GN'R (with the exception of Skid Row's Slave to the Grind, which came out in June). Be it Appetite, or Lies, or the three "new" songs ("Civil War", "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", and "You Could Be Mine"). Several rumored dates came and went, but they finally announced that September 17 was the big day.
The Monday before at school was spent talking about the new albums, the amazing new "Don't Cry" single and video, and since a local record store had announced that they were going to be doing a midnight release party--I spent several of my classes in determining who all I would be buying for, and which versions (CD or tape), and how much money it would all cost--nobody else's parents were gonna let them go to this thing.
(Somehow, I had convinced my mom to drive me--I was fifteen at the time--to the record store at midnight, which was no small task. She's never been one for driving at night, and we lived on the outskirts of town, which meant that we wouldn't be back home until at least one in the morning when it was all said and done. At first, I like to think that I was amazed that she agreed to take me to this thing, but then I get to thinking that she realized what a pain-in-the-ass I would have been if I didn't get to go that night. I would have bitched the entire time until I got them the next day--that is, if I didn't skip school in the morning to get them.)
So, anyway, Mom took me to the party, and she and my sister stayed in the car as I went inside and joined the mob. They were piping the new albums over the speakers, and I kept one eye on the boxes of the CDs I could see behind the counter, and the other eye on the clock, which was ever-so-slowly counting down to twelve A.M.
Finally, midnight hit, and I waited in line to buy my copies of the album. Thinking back on it, I bought a set of tapes for me, a set of CDs for my best friend Brian, I think another set of tapes for someone I've forgotten, and, last but not least, a tape of the new Mariah Carey album, which also came out that day, for my then-girlfriend Amy (big Mariah fan). I think I spent something like eighty or ninety dollars that night.
Went home, told Mom I'd "go to bed", and then I think I stayed up until three or four in the morning listening to the new albums. Got up a couple of hours later, threw all my loot in my bookbag, and headed off to school.
Hooked Brian up with his two CDs (which were a late surprise birthday present) the first thing that morning, and then I think I spent the rest of the day bringing out my new tapes in every class period, showing them off--as most everybody else would have to wait until after school had gotten out to get their copies.
I don't know how many
days weeks went by before I listened to something other than those albums. I spent a lot of that time thinking about how GN'R was going to kick the crap out of Garth Brooks' new album (no small task here in his home state of Oklahoma) which came out a week before the Illusions did. And while they were on the top of the charts for a few weeks, that was short-lived until, I believe, Garth regained the top spot.
And, just a week after September 17th, Nirvana quietly released Nevermind, which later went on to change the world, in just a few short months (and who's success was certainly a contributing factor to the implosion of GN'R just a couple of years later).
Well, ultimately, the Illusion albums weren't nearly what they could have been (or "it" should have been, as I detailed in an above post), but, they're still pretty good albums, and, at the time, it was a pretty monumental release.